Why we carried out this assessment
ES.1 Country and Regional Public Sector Finance (CRPSF) statistics are used widely by policymakers and by analysts in each of the UK’s nations’ respective treasury departments. As part of government spending reviews, policymakers in central government use CRPSF statistics, along with the Barnett formula and Block Grant Transparency statistics to help determine the level of public spending in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In turn the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments use CRPSF statistics to monitor the spending of these funds and to construct budgets that set out their plans for spending on public services.
ES.2 Our assessment has found widespread good practice in the production of these statistics. We have identified two actions for ONS to fulfil in order for CRPSF statistics to be designated as National Statistics. ONS has committed to implement these for its next output, scheduled for publication in May 2022
ES.3 ONS publishes CRPSF statistics annually. CRPSF statistics provide users with information on what public sector expenditure has occurred in each of the UK’s nations and English regions and what public sector revenues have been raised in each nation or region, as well as the balance between them. The statistical concepts used in CRPSF statistics are consistent with those used in UK Public Sector Finance
ES.4 ONS’s engagement with users on all issues relating to CRPSF statistics has and continues to be comprehensive. In 2016, prior to the publication of the first set of CRPSF statistics, ONS ran a consultation with potential users to understand user demand for a single view of Public Sector Finances for the UK’s nations and English regions.
ES.5 In response to a 2019 OSR review, ONS set up the sub-UK Public Sector Finances Working Group to assist with the development of the narrative of CRPSF statistics. It is expected that the UK Government’s levelling up strategy could increase the demands on the use of CRPSF statistics. ONS must plan to ensure that the profile and accessibility of CRPSF statistics reflects any increased demand for them.
ES.6 CRPSF public sector expenditure data are sourced from HMT’s Country and Regional Analysis (CRA) statistics. The CRA presents statistical estimates of identifiable expenditure (spending that can be identified as having been for the benefit of a particular area of the UK) across UK nations and English regions.
ES.7 Estimates of taxation revenue are built up using data from 37 different data sources. A large proportion of these data sources is supplied by HMRC, ONS and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
ES.8 As the estimates for countries and regions are often similar to each other, to assist users’ understanding of the use and interpretation of the statistics, it is important that ONS clearly communicates to users the impact that statistical uncertainty has upon estimates of apportioned country and regional taxation revenue.
ES.9 The ONS UK Public Sector Finance team has secured funding from ONS’s Ambitious Radical Inclusive Economic Statistics (ARIES) development programme to re-develop its statistical production platform.Back to top